Steps to the Top | Ty Hathaway
An accidental enduro racer in New Zealand
Ty Hathaway, a tall, soft-spoken Californian who co-owns a bike shop in Los Angeles, has made a life of things on two wheels. He’s been photographed for BMX magazines enough that he’s forgotten exactly which ones — and which issues. He’s been featured in clothing and helmet ads on road bikes. His Instagram feed is a visual catalogue of seemingly constant bike trips with like-minded friends. And in 2014, Hathaway re-discovered mountain biking and took on the rugged Trans Provence stage race in France, where he finished as the top-placing American. And his mountain bike jones was re-lit.
Ty is no stranger to mountain bike competition. As a kid, he contested the NORBA National Championship Series as a trials rider. The enduro format is not really all that foreign to him, either. Once upon a time, instead of wending through the woods on a carbon-fiber mountain bike, Ty’s bikes weighed more than 200 pounds and had a throttle. Coming from Southern California, though, he was more of a wide-open desert guy than a woods racer. He was good, too. Hathaway’s throttle twisting career was meteoric, and he finished his first season with a single-digit number plate.
Quicker than most people advance up a single racing class, he landed a spot on the Honda team for the legendary Baja 1000. Taking over riding duties at one of the team’s planned pit stops, he took off at the kind of scary-fast speed that The Thousand demands. But mechanical issues didn’t allow him to brake when he got to the first corner. He woke up in a hospital, and decided that chasing a paycheck as a motorcycle racer wasn’t worth it. He still rides, and remembers his motorcycle racing days fondly — he does a trip with his dad every year — but bicycles are his passion.
Ty headed to New Zealand last year to experience Crankworx — he’d never seen a Dual Speed and Style or a Whip-Off Championship or a Slopestyle event before. And of course, he was there to compete in the opening round of the 2015 Enduro World Series. As natural as he is on a bike of any kind, Hathaway’s 70th place overall finish in his first Enduro World Series event sent him home with a long list of lessons — nuggets he’ll undoubtedly take with him wherever he races next.
Next time out, it’s a safe bet that Ty will end up closer to the front of the results list than the back. Not that it matters all that much, though, because this is a guy without much to prove. For Ty, it is all about the fun, the experience, and about being a participant in another adventure.
Video by: Mind Spark Cinema
Photos by: Adrian Marcoux
Words by: Joe Parkin